10 March 2023

OSR miscellaneous items: Swords and Wizardry revised and Shadow Dark

For your OSR consideration:



I'll be backing this, even though I already have multiple copies of Swords and Wizardry (albeit most in storage due to restricted shelf space –- although the recent box set is sitting near two copies of Crypts and Things in my bedroom).

S&W got me into the ‘Old School Renaissance’ in a big way about 15 years ago. Indeed, this blog started as a repository for house rules and campaign notes for S&W (many of which eventually became incorporated into the S&W-based Crypts & Things).

I’m looking forward to checking out the revised version (with the new Erol Otus cover). And even if I weren't, I’d support the new version out of gratitude to Mythmere Games.


Also possibly of interest to gamers whose tastes tend towards the ‘old school’ side of things: the Shadow Dark role-playing game. The ‘quick start’ rules are free, and after a leisurely skim through them, I have to say that I’m favourably impressed overall. I like the game’s art and clean layout, as well as its motivating philosophy (especially its focus on keeping the game ‘moving’ at a brisk pace).


I thought that Shadow Dark might be trying to do (more or less) what Into the Unknown does: namely, provide a game that is fully compatible with 5e D&D (i.e., 5e-derived) but with some streamlined rules and an overall ‘old school’ ethos. But it looks like it’s something else: Shadow Dark is more of a (1980 era) Basic/Expert D&D inspired game (but with class and race separated) with a few mechanics inspired by 5e (e.g., 5e’s ‘advantage/disadvantage’ system, which I’m quite fond of) and other novel twists (e.g., a ‘real time’ torch rule). While I’m not sure I’d ever run it myself (although I certainly would not rule it out!), I think I'll be getting it any case. The random tables look cool and readily usable with other systems (S&W, ItU, etc.). 


(As an aside, I’m simply amazed that the Shadow Dark kickstarter already has raised over 800K USD [1.1 million CAD]! How is that possible?)

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I'm a Canadian political philosopher who lives primarily in Toronto but teaches in Milwaukee (sometimes in person, sometimes online).